EPBC Act Cost Recovery Policy


Aestra was engaged to develop policy options relating to the cost recovery of strategic assessments under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) for the Australian Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW).

The EPBC Act includes processes for the assessment and approval of actions which may have an impact to matters of national environmental significance. The administration of the EPBC Act is subject to cost recovery arrangements to recoup government funds expended in the assessment of referred projects. The cost recovery arrangements include provision for the collection of cost recovery fees for strategic assessments, however there is limited guidance on how cost recovery provisions are to be applied to strategic assessments.

The Australian Government commissioned a review into the application of cost recovery arrangements for regulatory processes under the EPBC Act. The review included a requirement to develop policy products to determine in what circumstances cost recovery fees should be applied to strategic assessments.

As subject matter experts in the development and management of strategic assessments, Aestra was engaged as a subcontractor to deliver policy advice to DCCEEW on the implications of cost recovery for strategic assessments. This included balancing the requirements of the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines and Charging Framework and the requirements of DCCEEW to incentivise the uptake of strategic approaches. We also supported an activity-based costing review for individual assessment and strategic assessments under Parts 7 – 10 of the EPBC Act.

Our advice ultimately informed DCCEEW’s position on cost recovery of strategic assessments.


Photo credit: Steven Tritton, 2020.